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State lawmakers with different views on RCSD budget request

Part of the plan that officials in the Rochester City School District have in mind for balancing the budget has to do with getting additional state aid.

But there are different views on that possibility among a couple of area lawmakers.

District Superintendent Terry Dade and others have talked about the need for additional state aid to help with the unexpected shortfall affecting the school district this year. They’ve talked about lobbying state lawmakers for at least another $20 million in aid.

Assemblyman Harry Bronson, a Rochester Democrat, said that he’s supportive of pushing for that additional funding.

“This is not a time to pull money out of the district or ignore the district; this is a time that we should be making sure that we’re funding the academic programs and let’s look at other areas we might be able to make cuts,” Bronson said.

But another Assembly Democrat from Rochester, David Gantt, said that before Albany considers more aid for Rochester the structural problems with the district’s finances need to be resolved.

“You’ve got to clean up the mess before you can start talking about saving people. I don’t know how you do that before there’s an audit and we can get some information. At least I’m not in a position to say that yet,” Gantt said.

Bronson says if Rochester were to get the additional aid, he would push for a state-appointed fiscal monitor to watch over the district’s finances.

The school district is grappling with a potential shortfall of nearly $65 million if certain steps are not take to cut expenses. That includes laying off dozens of teachers, a proposal that drew protests at several city schools on Monday.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.
James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.